Clarity PHEV ICE stuck in first gear?

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Dallas Elliott, Apr 4, 2018.

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  1. Hey all,

    I was wondering if you guys have experience with the ICE sounding like it's stuck in first gear whenever you accelerate at low speeds(especially when the battery is out of range)?

    I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area in California, so our 70 degree temps would rule out any cold weather. I've had the car for about 4 weeks now and have put roughly 1200 miles on it, so that rules out any new engine quirks.

    My original thought was that it just sounded extra loud because it's a smaller engine that has to work a little harder than normal + I was used to the silence of EV mode. Now my thinking is that there may be something wrong with the car?

    I noticed another older thread with this issue, but nobody really solved it as far as I could find in the forum.

    Do you think this is something worth taking to the dealership, or is this normal that all Clarity's do?

    I'm glad to have come across this forum! I've been dying to get an EV forever, but without a charging infrastructure at my apartment, I could never manage. PHEV was the perfect compromise with a public L2 charger only a block away :)

    Happy to meet all of you!

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  3. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    It is normal that all Clarity's do. Thankfully they don't do it very often. It is a side effect of the way the engine is designed. Since the engine is more of a battery generator than a traditional engine the rpm's aren't dependent on vehicle speed. The engine will rev up as high as it thinks it needs to to charge the battery. It doesn't take vehicle speed into account. You may have head it referred to as "angry bees" in the forums here.

    side note: I'm sure my explanation wasn't as technically accurate as it could be, but I tried to give the general idea of why it does that.
    jdonalds and AlanSqB like this.
  4. Viking79

    Viking79 Well-Known Member

    The engine runs at what the car deems is the most efficient RPM and varies the gearing to change wheel speed. If you have ever driven a CVT in a normal car you will notice they do that at times too, although usually not as pronounced. This is actually better for efficiency as gas engines really don't like to run at variable RPM, they do much better in a narrow band. Some CVTs, in normal cars anyway, are programmed to simulate shift points and some engine revving as people seem not to like the engine running at a fixed RPM (only because they aren't used to it).

    Don't worry, the Clarity can't over-rev the engine. It is a bit annoying, but it is what it is.

    Edit: You might be able to reduce it if you know you are going to run out of charge you could put it in HV mode with more bars left so that it might not need to run the engine as hard to replenish the battery. Then when you are about home, turn HV off to deplete the battery the rest of the way.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
  5. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    I agree. I have found that I can avoid the high reving “angry bees” by entering HV mode manually before the battery is fully depleted. This way the ICE/generator does not need to supply large amounts of power. It just hums along at what seems to me to be a fast idle as it alternates charging the battery and powering the e-motor. This way it’s hardly noticeable (even at low speeds) unless I accelerate way more than normal or go up a steep hill. In fact it will even cycle on and off. I think this scenario gives the computer algorithm more flexibility in managing the power flow.
    So try this before the battery gets depleted the next time you going to exceed your EV range. Just remember that full depletion of usable capacity is at 2 bars, so don’t wait until then.

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